Q+A series: Celebrating 35 years of NZTC
As New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC) celebrates 35 years, we talk to some of the influential people who have contributed to the college’s success.
In the second of our Q+A series, we speak with Sushma Nair, Manager of NZTC India.
Q+A with Sushma Nair
What was it about NZTC that appealed to you?
The fact that it’s online education and people can work as well as gain a qualification. Also the fact that you can learn at any age; no matter how many qualifications you have, you can upgrade to a new skill at any given point of time. That flexibility appealed to me.
What have been the most special moments at NZTC India since you’ve been here?
Right from the first graduation that I attended before I started working here, to the time when I first visited Jagriti Academy; every graduation ceremony, when I meet students and families and they tell me that their lives have changed because of our qualification.
How have you seen NZTC India enable students in the early childhood education sector in India over the years?
When I joined NZTC in 2013, it was a very new thing and a unique proposition for the teachers in India to study while working – and through an online flexible mode of study, too. Students can get an international qualification while they are working at a local preschool, and learn best practices from across the globe. They have a chance to interact with teachers around the world on an online platform, and I think that has made a huge difference in the way our students eventually interact with the children in their preschools.
Why do you think NZTC has been so successful in India?
People want to learn, and at NZTC they get an opportunity to learn and get an international qualification without having to leave their comfort zone – I think that’s one of the key success factors for us. We have such strong, academic research-based content in our courses, which is lacking in India’s local courses. NZTC’s courses encompass research – understanding why, and how a teacher needs to work with a child of a particular age group or address particular behaviour that is happening in the classroom. To me, these things have been key differentiators for us.
What impact has initiatives like Jagriti Academy made?
Jagriti Academy has been very special. The contribution from NZTC in terms of teacher development and supporting the school have given children in a far-off village in India access to quality education. The children need this kind of education and support. They now have aspirations, which is very important to move ahead in life, and believe they can become anything they want through education. That’s the power of Jagriti Academy.
What makes NZTC India special?
My team that I work with makes it special. The kind of work that I do – making a difference in lives of teachers and young children – that’s what makes it special for me. And the fact that we as an organisation have such strong values, and our work revolves around those values. That is very important to me in my professional career – that our values align.
What is your favourite graduate story?
There’s a student who came to us to do only a Level 5 qualification. She then moved on to do Level 6 and Level 7. Each year she would tell me, ‘I’ve done too much, I’ve been too stressed’, but about two months after a course ended she would say, ‘I miss all the readings, can I sign up for the next one?’ I like how she has taken learnings from the courses to parents, making them understand how the lives of preschool children are different and what they need to do as parents. She wants to do a postgraduate qualification, too.
What vision do you have for NZTC India moving forward?
My vision for NZTC India is for every possible school in this country to have an NZTC graduate.